Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon.

Summary: Sailor Mars and Neo-Queen Serenity discuss ten year old Chibiusa's progress, or lack thereof, in Senshi training. Mars thinks the girl isn't ready for her second foray into the past, but Serenity has faith in her daughter's abilities. One shot.

War Games

"Serenity, Small Lady is- without question- your daughter!" Sailor Mars shouted as she marched into the dining hall... where else to find her blonde Majesty? Lo and behold, aforementioned Neo-Queen Serenity looked up from nursing her saucer of tea, cocking a fine brow.

"Why Mars, you're so very astute today!" she teased, offering her friend of a thousand years a chair. "But you know, I'd sort of figured that one out for myself about ten years ago, when she popped out of my body!"

Mars huffed, plopping into the seat next to Small Lady's mother. "Well, if anyone was having doubts-"

"Who's having doubts!? You were all there!"

"Humor me. Please," Mars interrupted, shooting Serenity a withering glare. Between the pair, it was safe to note that Mars was perhaps the only woman in the palace who could get away with such impertinence in the Queen's company. Serenity sighed.

"I'm not quite sure what the point of this conversation is, but alright," the benign monarch conceded. She took a dainty sip of tea and continued, "So why exactly is Small Lady my daughter, oh Wise One of the Fire?"

"She's immature! She's cowardly! Loud! Inexperienced! Klutzy! Clumsy! Whimsical!" the Fire Senshi reeled off fanatically, tacking up fingers as she volleyed. "And don't even get me started on her tactical skills!"

"My, what a flattering assessment. I'm so glad Endymion and I chose you to be her godmother." Serenity rolled her eyes while Mars scowled. "Tea?"

"Stop trying to change the subject! And you know how I feel about Small Lady, Serenity. I love that girl to pieces. I'm simply worried! She's fast approaching her second debut in the past as Sailor Chibi Moon, and frankly... I think a monkey could fight off youma better than her! I mean, the child shrieks like a banshee the second I even stretch my legs for a flying kick!"

"Well... you are quite scary sometimes, Mars," Serenity chuckled, pressing her chin into her palm and leaning forward. Mars growled, knowing the woman well enough to recognize her subtle signs of boredom. "If you came at me with those pointy heels, I'd run screaming too."

"Aren't you even the least bit scared for your daughter's sake!? She's not ready to be a Sailor Senshi! She has no faith in her abilities whatsoever, and that doubt is reflected in her attack! Have you seen her attempt to 'Pink Sugar Heart Attack' Jupiter? The power craps out halfway there!" the priestess practically hollered, irritated at her Queen's slumped, disinterested posture and utter lack of concern.

"Honestly, Mars... no. I'm not. I think you and the Senshi are giving her far more credit than she deserves," Serenity answered docilely, sitting up again and stirring the dregs of her beverage. "You're expecting a formidable warrior to form overnight."

"I...I... well... maybe! But... you recall the Chibiusa-chan of old!" the Senshi in red spluttered, crossing and uncrossing her arms uncomfortably at the revelation. Trust Serenity to dig for unsettling truths! "She wasn't exactly a... a perfect fighter, but... but the Chibiusa-chan I remember was... was strong! Brave! Idealistic, like a future leader, but broad-minded; gutsy-"

"Guts!" Serenity cut in, wagging her index finger. Remarkable, the way the Neo-Queen attained such benevolence, even when lightly chastising... "Bingo! She had guts, and plenty of it, too! But you're thinking ahead, to the Chibiusa who left us after a whole year and a half of being Chibi Moon. A Chibi Moon who'd faced countless evils and lived to tell the tale; a Chibi Moon who'd done just as much maturing that year as I did! You forget that our Small Lady is a novice in the field of battle. To her, everything's a war game. None of it affects her... and why should it? She's never encountered a situation that might spell her doom. She's never seen a friend fall into the clutches of mortal peril, or watched a fellow soldier take a bullet for her! The scariest villains in her world are mere nightmares now! Small Lady may have helped defeat the Black Moon, but at six, memory is flighty... It's been four years since she's met danger head on, and that tenure is all it takes for complacency to settle. Unless you and the Senshi are willing to dangle prized people as bait, then you're not going to see progress. Small Lady can't fight to her fullest extent against women she loves and admires. It's not fair to ask that of her. You need to have faith that Small Lady will do her growing in the twentieth century, but it's not going to be here. Not in utopia; not in a Crystal Tokyo where the fears and pressures of princesshood gnaw at Lady's heels at every turn.

"The Chibiusa I remember was far from strong when she first arrived. For a while, she survived mainly on guts, and the numerous bailing outs by yours truly. And if it wasn't me, it was Tuxedo Kamen. And if not him, you guys. Mars, future Neo-Queen Serenity sent her to train and to make friends- not single-handedly duel off any monster that crossed her path!"

"I... I guess I'm starting to see what you mean," Mars admitted pensively, tapping her cheek. "You're saying she's where she needs to be? But then... what's the point of all this? Of the umpteen hours the Inners and I have put into training her, if... if it's all for naught!"

Serenity burst out in jolly laughter. "Oh Mars... you're being too emotional again!"

"Me? Emotional?" Mars scoffed. The Queen was one to talk; she played 'Messiah' to Crystal Tokyo's lost souls every other week! "Hardly!"

Serenity graced her raven-haired companion with a knowing glance. "Of course you are. You're frustrated and hurt. You think Small Lady has learnt nothing under your tutelage, and that it's your fault."

Mars grumbled a few choice words under her breath, but didn't deny it. When had Serenity- their carefree, scatterbrained little Usagi- become so omniscient?

"Contrary to popular opinion, I assigned you girls to train her because- whether you believe it or not- Small Lady is learning. Under your charge, she's storing up skills to be utilized under stressful situations. I never thought it would be easy, or even that Small Lady would enjoy these lessons. Goodness knows, her tutor complains to me daily about the lack of effort Lady puts into her schoolwork! But when she really needs these battle moves most, they'll be there. And besides-" Serenity winked at her ornery comrade- "I never taught her the flying Sailor kick."

Slowly, a smile crept onto Sailor Mars' face, even as she stifled to secrete it. "You're right. I should have more faith in her abilities. After all, we've seen how she'll turn out, right? We can't have done that bad a job, eh?"

"Thank you!" Serenity beamed, launching at Mars to catch her in a surprise hug. Seconds later, the monarch was up and strolling from the room. "And while you're at it, cut her some slack! Small Lady's a ten year old girl, preparing to fight in an adult's war. And she is, as you mentioned earlier, my daughter. What do you expect? A graceful miracle incarnate?"

Mars snickered behind her hand. "True. Though I must add that she's far more sophisticated and mature as a new Senshi than you ever were at fourteen."

Serenity paused at the door and blew Mars a very un-ladylike raspberry. "Ooh, you are so mean to me, even after all these years!"

Then she stalked from the room, leaving a quietly smirking Fire Warrior in her wake. The miko who'd pledged her life to Serenity stood, floating over to steal a cup of tea. "And yet, here I am, after all these years."

A/N: What did you think? Drop me a line and review! Means so much to an author!

AngelMoon Girl